Avoiding Empty Calories Can Improve Your Health


Mega Food

You've probably heard the term "empty calories" at least a few times by now. But, if you're like most people, you probably can't easily identify which calories are "empty" and wonder if "full calories" exist. Simply put, an empty calorie is one that contributes to your overall calorie count without providing any nutritional benefits. Sugary or fatty foods, including chips, candy, and soda, fall into this category.

Americans are eating more sugar than ever before. University of North Carolina researchers have determined that Americans, on average, consume 83 more calories per day from sugars than they did just 40 years ago. This adds up to nearly 2,500 calories per month, which equates to nearly one pound of fat.

While the obvious culprits are easy to spot, empty calories are hidden in many of the foods we tend to take for granted. Energy drinks, sports drinks, and fancy coffees can have nearly 8 teaspoons of sugar hidden inside them. Condiments are also notorious for hidden empty calories. When you squeeze out a few packets of ketchup to go with your French fries, you can add as much as 60 calories of sugar.

Sugar isn't the only hidden danger. Fats and oils can also boost the calorie count in foods while offering little to nothing in nutritional value. Gram for gram, fat has more than twice the number of calories as carbohydrates or proteins. Fast food is also the big problem here. Take mayonnaise for example, it is essentially vegetable oil, egg yolks, and vinegar. In the average 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise spread on a sandwich, you're getting an additional 198 calories and 22 grams of fat.

Throughout your diet, small changes can make a big difference over time. Switching from soda to water, from candy to fruit, and holding the mayo can significantly help you achieve your weight loss goals over time.

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